Mound of hostages, black and white images, people standing on top of it.

Planning Your Visit to Ireland? 4 Strange & Spooky Ancient Sites Associated with #SAMHAIN

The old festivals seem to me to fit perfectly into the cycle of seasons and the passing of the year. And also with the ebb and flow of my blood, or the beating of my heart, or my body clock, whatever you want to call that natural instinctual internal part of oneself. You may try and suppress it, but it’s always still there. If you feel the same, here are some places in Ireland that are associated with Samhain which you might like to visit: Tlachtga, the Mound of Hostages at Tara; Magh Slecht, and Oweynagat.

Pangur Bán, the White Cat, and Other Pets in Irish Mythology

I read a post on Facebook yesterday which claimed that animal behaviorists now believe that hugging your pet is harmful for them, as it causes their stress levels to rise. Apparently, they prefer tummy rubs, stroking and treats…. Read More

For the love of GOLD

When I first visited the National Museum of Archaeology in Dublin, I was stunned by the sheer amount, and quality, of ancient gold artifacts on display… there is a whole floor  of the stuff. My youngest son, who… Read More

The Fairy Folk of Ireland

In Ireland, these magical beings are known as ‘the Sidhe’ (prounounced Shee), also the Aos Sí, and Daoine Sídhe, and in Scottish lore, the Sith. They are named after the mounds which dot the Irish landscape, and which are said to lead to their homes below the ground. In folklore, they are often referred to as ‘the Fair Folk’ (hence fairy), or the ‘little people’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Well. You know what I mean.

The Curious Phenomenon of the Irish Fairy Tree

In Ireland, we take our fairy trees, our fairy tales, and our fairy folk for that matter, quite seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we delay the building of a motorway by ten years, and then end up completely re-routing it so that we avoid harming a well-known fairy tree.

Manannán’s Land Irish Myths of the Sea

Until I moved to Cavan eight years ago, I had always lived within sight or sound of the sea. Every summer I head down to Co Kerry for a few days with friends and the boys. There, we… Read More

Flower Power in Irish Mythology

The fields and hedgerows are awash with the blaze of wildflowers right now. Sadly, I don’t think many people see them, as we are always in such a hurry to get from A to B; we are focused… Read More

The Sacred Rites of Kings

So according to current scholarly thinking on ancient Kingship rights in Ireland, a new King had to shag a white horse, kill it and bathe in a stew made from it whilst eating its flesh. Then, if he… Read More

The White Horse in Irish Mythology

This post was inspired by an interesting twittercon with @Huk_fin about the role of the white stallion in ancient kingship rituals. Geraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales, 1146-1223, Archdeacon of Brecon) wrote in his Topographia Hibernica (Topography of Ireland, 1187) of a… Read More